After disappointing weekends in La Liga, both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona will be out to bounce back in what is a mouthwatering Copa del Rey semi-final first leg at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico Madrid reached the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, after eliminating Guijuelo in the round of 32, UD Las Palmas in the last 16 and Eibar in the quarter-finals. The blaugranas have progressed in the cup competition having knocked out Hércules, Athletic Club and Real Sociedad.
The Catalans are 180 minutes away from a place in the final but they face a challenging tie against Simeone’s men. Luis Enrique’s side will be looking to come back from Madrid with a positive result ahead of the return leg at the Camp Nou as they seek to win the Copa for the third year in a row. Barca are aiming to become the first team in the modern era to win the trophy three times in a row.
Diego Simeone’s side will not enter the tie in the highest of spirits after only being able to pick up a point during their latest league match. Alavés, who were also on the back of celebrating their passage to the final four of the cup, not only managed to hold Atlético to a goalless draw but were left feeling slightly disappointed at not gaining all three points.
The hosts amassed 19 shots on goal and claimed 61 per cent of possession but nevertheless could not break down Atlético’s tough defence. Simeone’s men lie in fourth place, seven points behind Barça and Sevilla, and ten behind leaders Real Madrid.
Real Betis’ decent performance and referee’s critical decisions stopped Barcelona’s impressive five-win streak last weekend at Benito Villamarin. Blaugrana had a clear goal disallowed as the main referee could not see that the ball was well behind the line which left Luis Enrique and his men four points behind their arch-rivals Real Madrid at the top. The brutal schedule continues as the Catalans have only two days for rest before the travel to Vicente Calderon and the first leg of Copa del Rey semifinal with Atletico Madrid.